June 19, 2003

The Best Garage Sale I'll Ever Have

usaa-check (17k image)Just slightly over a year ago, I had probably half of my worldly possessions go up in flames. I posted an account of it on my web site, but I always meant to follow that up with the (mostly) happy ending.

Barely two months before the fire caught us by surprise, my fiancée and I were engaged in engagement ring shopping. Throwing that whole “two month’s salary” thing right out the window, I had decided (without the DeBeer’s corporations input, thankyouverymuch) that a $1500 to $2000 ring would adequately demonstrate my love for her. We looked at Costco. We looked at over-priced jewelry stores downtown that typically cater to tourists with more money than I. Some rings were cheap, some we wanted to buy, but unfortunately, none of the ones we wanted to buy were cheap.

One day, Oksana was going through her old jewelry and pulled out a gaudy ring that could almost fit on my thumb. It had a gigantic, eight-pronged CLAW holding a diamond that was large enough and clear enough that we decided it just had to be fake. Long story short: It had been a gift her dad had given her mom way back in communist Russia and a $20 appraisal revealed that we really shouldn’t carelessly misplace it.

The choice was obvious: The ring had to go and the diamond had to stay. We laser-inscribed a single facet of the stone with her family name; created a custom, Oksana-original band; and promptly called USAA, my auto insurance company. They informed me that: 1) Yes, they’d insure the ring, 2) but it would be a “rider policy” hence we would first need to pay for renter’s insurance, and 3) we could save a lot of money by switching Oksana’s car insurance — but that’s beside the point.